IMEDEA is a public research center dedicated to promoting and sharing key scientific knowledge about the global processes of the planet and the beings that inhabit it. We specialize in the study of marine, coastal and island ecosystems, their characteristics, functioning and evolution. We consider physical, geochemical, and biological aspects of the natural environment and analyze the processes that occur from molecular scales to planetary dimensions. Our activities are integrated into the global VIDA area.

We understand that scientific knowledge is a value in itself. However, our research also seeks to address certain social challenges such as adapting / mitigating the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss, ecosystem protection and restoration, and sustainable management of natural resources.

The different lines of research of IMEDEA can be integrated into three general areas of action:

  • Climate, ocean dynamics and the effects of global change
  • Structure and functioning of ecosystems
  • Biodiversity and evolution

Climate, ocean dynamics and the effects of global change

The ocean and its interactions with the atmosphere are key elements in climate regulation. The ocean absorbs solar radiation, releases / absorbs heat, promotes the formation of clouds, and stores some of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

At IMEDEA we investigate the geophysical processes that govern these interactions between the atmosphere and the ocean, the changes that occur in the ocean as a result of climate change, the effects that such variations have on organisms and the well-being of citizens, as well. as its possible mitigation.


  • Climate predictions and identification of critical thresholds and turning points for physical changes in the ocean and their effects on coastal areas (sea level, wave climate, shoreline recession, floods, sediment transport).
  • Mechanisms of adaptation of organisms and their natural communities to the stress conditions produced by climate change (temperature variation, dissolved CO2, alkalinity and pH).
  • Mitigating the impact of climate change through nature-based solutions for CO2 sequestration in continental (groundwater) and ocean (carbon blue) systems.

Structure and functioning of ecosystems

Environmental variability fundamentally influences the abundance and distribution of populations and alters the functioning and status of ecosystems. The composition and interrelationships of the populations that make up an ecosystem determine its properties, including its resilience to natural and / or anthropogenic disturbances. What happens in the sea when we fish one species instead of another? How do biological invasions occur? To answer these questions we must understand the mechanisms that determine the functioning of ecosystems and the characteristics that derive from their structure.


  • Geophysical processes that influence environmental variability and its contribution to the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems.
  • Study of physical-biological interactions at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
  • Interactions between organisms in natural and anthropogenic systems.

Biodiversity and evolution 

Ecosystems are made up of a fragile balance between organisms and the habitat around them. Biodiversity contributes to the health of ecosystems and their resilience to change. We investigate various aspects related to biodiversity and its conservation, analyzing from microorganisms to vertebrates, demographics and population dynamics, genetic patterns and phylogeography.


  • Impact of anthropogenic pressures on biodiversity loss and ecosystem resilience.
  • Conservation, management and restoration strategies aimed at preserving the biodiversity of ecosystems and the services they provide.